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it's clear that all these rules and regulations have nothing to do with science. Nothing is mentioned about what type of scientific methods are acceptable, or what data analysis is considered valid.

his wording in FAQ and Rules is rather very negative and derogatory.

it's pretty much this: "show me while i belittle you about your claim, and since it's my money that you want, you just have to take it up the a$$ or i will just turn down your application."

enough said. sigh.

Michael, thanks for laying all these out......hopefully that'll discourage others to not bring up the 'if paranormal is real, how kind no one has win the million-dollar challenge' tenet.

>Nothing is mentioned about what type of scientific methods are acceptable, or what data analysis is considered valid.

Possibly the FAQ doesn't deal with these issues because they are expected to be worked out in detail in each particular case. However, the FAQ does say that what is required is a "simple demonstration" of the ability. Most psi phenomena would not be demonstrable in this way, since success could always be attributed to chance, lucky guesses, etc. The complexities of data analysis in psi experiments do not seem to enter JREF's thinking, at least as far as the FAQ is concerned.

I think instead of getting angry with JR, we should just all laugh at and belittle him. He's quite a sad, little man, isn't he? He reminds me of someone who got so mad when they found out "magic", as they knew it, was fake that they became a vigilante.

He's quite a sad, little man, isn't he? He reminds me of someone who got so mad when they found out "magic", as they knew it, was fake that they became a vigilante.

You're half-right.

Randi used to work as a stage magician, so he knows how to perform a lot of magic tricks.

He got really mad when he found out that people were taking those tricks and using them to steal money from innocent people. And they were stealing the money in the most vile way possible: By finding people who were suffering, and targetting them with worthless snake-oil "miracle cures", phoney seances with dead loved ones, and banishings of imaginary evil spirits.

And some of these crooks knew how to take advantages of loopholes in the law so that they couldn't be prosecuted. (e.g. by putting "For Entertainment Purposes Only" somewhere in the fine print.) Even when they broke the law, they usually got away with it.

So, yes, Mr. Randi did become a vigilante of a sort. He can't give the thieves the punishment they deserve, but he can at least expose them for what they are, and I think we should all applaud him. It's easy to just shrug your shoulders and say, "Eh, somebody else will deal with it." But Mr. Randi is actually going out and making a difference.

(He's also branched out into exposing less harmful sorts of fraud...meaningless horoscopes, tax money being wasted on "remote viewing" boondoggles, and even useless stereo equipment.)

Now, if there are people out there who aren't crooks, and who do have genuine psychic powers, then I'll agree that Mr. Randi's said mean things about them and most likely hurt their feelings.

But I think the best way for them to get revenge is to apply for the challenge and collect the million dollars. (In an ideal world, they'd give the money right back so that the JREF can continue to expose phoney psychics.)

I think most of the objections to the challenge are just semantic games. Yes, the JREF has the right to refuse to deal with people if it's clear that they're just obnoxious jerks and timewasters. Everybody has that right!

But that doesn't mean that the JREF has the right to throw out a valid claim just by arbitrarily saying that the applicant is a jerk. If they don't negotiate in good faith, then the applicant has the right to sue, no matter what the disclaimers say.

(Look to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mel_Mermelstein>"Mermelstein v. IHR" for the precedent. The IHR was a neo-Nazi organization that claimed the Holocaust had never happened. They were offering a $50,000 prize to anyone who could provide convincing evidence that it had...and of course they were just doing this as a political stunt; they just said that any and all evidence was "unconvincing". It wound up in court; the judge ruled that they were running the contest in bad faith, and that the evidence submitted by Mel Mermelstein (a Holocaust survivor) was in fact convincing.)

Most people who criticise the challenge do so out of ignorance of the way it works.
1) The applicant decribes and defines his ability, not the JREF.
2) The applicant describes how he or she can demonstrate his or her ability, not the JREF.
3) The applicant proposes a test designed to demonstrate his or her ability, not the JREF.
4) The JREF simply imposes controls that will prevent the test from being passed by mundane means.
Is that wrong?

I just realized that it might be helpful to give a little bit of background on Section 6. I've been following the Challenge for a while, and Section 6 is a recent addition.

It wasn't added on a whim to give Randi a loophole to toss out valid claims. It was added because the guy that handled applications was getting tired of having to deal with obnoxious jerks and timewasters.

I think the last straw was http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=46132>Nicole Spiese, who just wanted to rant and rant and rant without even making a specific claim.

After Section 6 was added, it was used almost immediately against http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=50349>Dewey Iles. He at least had a testable claim, but just look at the attitude he's showing. This isn't someone who's been corresponding back and forth for too long and has started getting frustrated. This is someone writing a letter to a total stranger in hopes of getting a million dollars, and starts slinging insults in the third sentence! Who wants to deal with someone like that?

However, the FAQ does say that what is required is a "simple demonstration" of the ability. Most psi phenomena would not be demonstrable in this way, since success could always be attributed to chance, lucky guesses, etc. The complexities of data analysis in psi experiments do not seem to enter JREF's thinking, at least as far as the FAQ is concerned.

It didn't make it into the FAQ, but this has been discussed a lot on the forums and would certainly be explained during negotiation.

The JREF insists that the preliminary test has to be designed so that the odds of passing through random chance are 1 in a thousand, and in the final test the odds need to be 1 in a million. The person being tested needs to give their estimated success rate, and then that information is used to calcuate the required number of trials. So, yes, in theory, you can win the money by beating billion-to-one odds even if you don't have psychic powers.

Here's a link to the http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=28936>Achau Nguyen test. Mr. Nguyen claimed to be able to be able to transmit words telepathically. Obviously it's theoretically possible to get a match by random guessing, but this isn't really an issue if you use a long enough word list. Mr. Nguyen agreed to try for a 95% success rate on a 20-word list. (The odds against passing through random luck are astronomical, so he could have gotten a much easier test if he'd asked for one. On an unknown list of words, even a 15% success rate would be incredible. His actual success rate during the test was 0%.)

Anyway, Mr. Randi's a pretty smart fellow and I'm sure he knows enough about statistics to set up a test with a suitable margin of error.

Someone needs to explain to James Randi that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. His arch nemesis, John Edward, is charming, charismatic, handsome, funny, entertaining, and his message is uplifting and positive, where as James Randi is mean, belittling, derogatory, and looks like the devil. If Randi really wants to affect people and their beliefs he needs to work on his delivery.

I think Art is missing a very important point. Science, and the proofs that are such an essential element of science are NOT popularity contests. It isn't a matter of who makes you feel better about yourself. It's a matter of truth.

Truth is not about what you feel, and it isn't about what you think might be... if only. It is fact. Hard, cold and straightforward.

The kind of people who fail to realize this are the kind of people that vote for the guy with the nicer tie.

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